Regarding Daniel Denvir’s recent cover story about racial segregation in the Philly region:
Your idea that “It all starts with housing ... We would have success with a lot of these problems if we had people of mixed-incomes living together.” OK. Between my wife and I, we work 3 jobs in one household so we can live as far as possible from Section 8 housing. Keep your brave new world, liberal views to yourself. I don’t want section 8 anywhere near me. I don’t want anyone receiving any type of government assistance living near me. Do you need to hear it again? I don’t care what their excuses or reasons are to receive that money. Nobody puts a gun to their heads and says “take this money or your dead.” I pay THOUSANDS of dollars a year in Federal, State, City and property taxes to keep it away from my neighborhood. I’ll say it. They don’t deserve to live in or near my neighborhood. When are we going to stop this “free money” mentality? I don’t care how horrible their neighborhood is. You made your bed now sleep in it. Remember, neighborhoods are made up of those that live in them.
As someone who lives in a multi-cultural neighborhood that is on the edge of Center City I can speak to these issues. Most often when whites are fleeing neighborhoods it is because their neighborhood is physically deteriorating, not because a new non-Caucasian neighbor moved in. They move not because they are racist; they move simply because many people of lower socioeconomic status and lower income simply do not have house pride. I don’t care if my neighbors are white, Latino, black or Asian, when your house looks like its ready to collapse, repair it. People with house and neighborhood pride want their neighbors to plant flowers, plant trees, paint the front door when it needs painting. They want their neighbors to pick-up the trash that has been accumulating in front of their house. All of these elements effect quality of life and assist in white flight, its not as simple as calling people racist. I grew up in the lower Northeast in the early 80s, it was a very nice neighborhood. I cant believe the neighborhood now. Not because of the people of different races I see when driving through, but the condition of the houses, the yards and the lack of pride in the neighborhood. The vision of having racially and economic diverse neighborhoods will only come to life when the people from different walks of life take pride in where they live. Its not always racism.
I’m not native to Philadelphia, however when I moved here I noticed the clear lines that divide this city. Segregation is something unspoken, but understood by those that live here. I’ve lived in a lot of places in the U.S. and abroad and I honestly can say this is the most racist place I have ever lived in. I cant just say one race or the other, everyone just hates each other except during baseball and football season. In today’s society, everything that has been sacrificed by all of our ancestors, in this city, is in vein. White people just think their better than blacks and its just not true, we all are human beings, some more humane than others. As we all get old and decrepit we realize that. Don’t waste time on ignorance, its such a waste of time.
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom